By: Mark Glennon*

Source: FightBackNews.

Surely this must be a parody, I thought when I first saw a story on it. A reader here sent me a link to something called FightBack!News. But I read it twice and plenty of other sources confirm it: The Chicago Teachers union has a delegation in Venezuela to show their solidarity with Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime.

Their goals are “to learn what they could from Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, exchange views on effective education and to show solidarity with the students, teachers and social movements of Venezuela,” says the story.

The CTU delegation with some Venezuelan electrical workers. Source: FightBackNews.

Delegation members are personally sharing their wonderment at Venezuelan socialism on a blog called “Radical Educator Collective.”  The communes they visited particularly impressed them.

They quoted a Venezuelan official saying communes make society less individualistic since groups of people are working together to decide their needs and how to work collectively towards solutions. “This is why Venezuela became a threat to the USA, wrote delegation member Sarah Chambers. “The USA does not want people to realize that another world is possible with justice and love.”

Chambers also wrote on Twitter that the delegation hadn’t seen a single homeless person during their trip. No mention that housing might be plentiful because over three million people have fled – about 10% of the population.

Among the wisdom they’ve acquired, according to the article, is that 75% of Venezuela’s budget goes to social programs. “What country in the world does that?” asked delegate Valeria Vargas. “In the USA, 50% of our budget goes to war.” She’s a math teacher, the article says, but maybe we should give her a break because 50% kinda sounds like the real number, which is 15%.

What about Venezuela’s rampant hunger, disease, childhood mortality, crime and despair that have filled headlines in recent years? Well, yes, there are “issues,” says the blog, but they all stem from American sanctions and meddling. “The mainstream news is right that there are some issues in Venezuela, but where they are wrong is who has created those issues,” it says.

What about how human rights organizations across the globe, from all political perspectives, have hammered the regime for its extrajudicial executions, attacks on journalists, harassment of human rights activists, horrible prisons, rampant corruption and more? No mention of that.

The CTU’s fondness for the Maduro regime clearly goes beyond the delegation members. This spring, the CTU Executive Board and House of Delegates each unanimously passed a resolution opposing “the invasion of Venezuela” and criticizing the United States and its allies for harassing the regime.

That delegate mentioned earlier, Sarah Chambers, is a CTU Executive Board Member. In 2017, the school district fired her for, as reported by WTTW,

“leaving her own classroom to barge into classrooms of other teachers and issue her own instructions to students, interfering with statewide tests, and participating in a scheme to remove and transport students without any chaperone who had cleared criminal background checks, without alerting school officials which students would be missing from class and which students were unaccounted for….”

However, she claimed she was fired in retaliation for other matters and the CTU got her reinstated, the union says.

Wouldn’t you like to see the comps for teachers in Venezuela?

Illinoisans outside of Chicago may laugh at all this, but they should know they’re helping pay for it. State taxpayers contributed $239 million to the Chicago teachers pension last year under the bailout legislation passed a couple years ago.

They’re in contract negotiations now, demanding more and threatening to strike.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if the delegates asked their teacher counterparts in Venezuela how their salaries and pensions compare to theirs in America? In Chicago, their average final salary is $98,000 and average annual pension after 30 years of service is $70,000. Not bad for about 165 days of work per year in a district that pays even the employee’s pension contribution.

The irony here is that the CTU’s extreme politics are matched by the extreme simplicity of how Illinois could not only bury the CTU but solve all the school district’s financial and pension problems. Just reconstitute it, which we’ve explained before. Start a new school district, take only the good teachers and assets from the old. Go forward with a new retirement plan that’s affordable, giving the district a fresh start, and keep CTU types the hell away from the kids.

But that would require legislation from Springfield where, as with so much else, there’s no political will to fix anything.

More of the delegation with Venezuelan locals. Source: FightBackNews.

UPDATE 7/31/19: Chicago City Wire has now reported that CTU President Jesse Sharkey is in “hot water” as a result of the trip. According to their story, “A source within the CTU told Chicago City Wire that the trip was not approved by rank-and-file members of the union. Yet, it’s coming across on social media and Venezuelan state TV as a union sanctioned trip.” According to their source, “Sharkey claims the teachers went ‘on vacation as individuals,’” the source wrote in an email. “This is patently untrue, as they raised money in our union’s name, blogged in our name, met with Maduro’s government [Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro] in CTU’s name, and spoke with media in our name.”

UPDATE 8/8/19: This story has now been picked up by many national outlets.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

Read more about the CTU, its contract demands, and how Mayor Lightfoot should respond:

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Muchos idiotas útiles

Thomas richardson

I have friends for Venezuela, and they have family who are still living there and what do you teach your serve putting forward here is a total lie, a woman the other day stood in line for 18 hours just to get a can of milk and that’s all she got these people are delusional they are so wrapped up in socialism they believe anything Maduro has to tell them, maduro’s delegation did not take this delegation to the poor parts of town, so don’t tell me about socialism I have friends in Venezuela who are suffering

Frank Hernández

Really? Maduro? This people can’t be so stupid… I am a Venezuelan man trust me you don’t want to be like us.. please protect your country….

Ditmar Redfern

He was a fantastic bus driver!


why is my state tax dollars paying the Chicago teachers? They have their own seperate teacher union. just anothergood reason to get rid of Chiraq by any means

earl hickey

Illinois and Chicago governments are in desperate need of money . Both need to start taxing Retirement income NOW. That includes retired teacher’s pensions along with the pensions of of other retired state and city workers. Their income needs to be taxed at the same rate as other taxpayers in Illinois.


Do it Illinois. Do what Earl suggests. I dare you. It will be fun to watch the retirees flee and then watch Earl struggle to pay their taxes. Earl…another progressive that is fine with taxing others.


it’s not retirement income that’s untaxed, it’s pension income that’s untaxed. It’s a give away to labor that gets huge pensions from the state and then they don’t even have to pay taxes on it.

Edward F Hershey

Glennon don’t know from Jack — he wants to eliminate our school district, so it’s probably not worth entertaining his views on Venezuela (which may not be socialist, but yes, it is being systematically strangled by sanctions imposed by the US). Right wing pablum and propaganda. Also Glennon, I read all the BS you put in Crains


Ed Hershey – have you read Raul Gallegos’ balanced work, Crude Nation? If you did, you wouldn’t be making your statement. Gallegos does a good job of exposing conditions and problems that existed before Chavez, but there is no escaping the disaster that Chavez’s and Maduro’s policies have visited on the nation. The worst thing that the regime has done is by force of the gun to force producers to sell well below the cost of production, including food, which has (predictably) led to mass shortages and starvation. The amount of acreage taken out of production is astounding. Venezuela can’t… Read more »


How does wanting to eliminate your school district discredit Mark in any way? Sounds like a purely emotional, knee-jerk response.

As to Venezuela, the problems they face predate the sanctions by quite some time. US sanctions had nothing to do with the regime putting all its eggs in one basket. (Oil) Nor are they responsible for the rampant inflation or the constant raising of the minimum wage in a futile effort to curtail it.


MikeH – their dependence on oil is a factor, but how the regime treats the oil industry makes things worse. Oil sells in country for a mere fraction of its costs of production – we are talking pennies a gallon. The regime uses these ridiculous prices as a pablum. That means 12 billion of lost revenue a year, which should go into the business to make it competitive. With no capital upkeep, North Dakota produces more oil than Venezuela today. Shocking. Query whether any of the CTU teachers understand these facts – I doubt it.


Willowglen none of the ones who went on that trip would, anyway. And if they knew anything about history, they would realize the USSR pulled the same sort of snow job with Ted Kennedy.

Tom Paine's Ghost

The school district doesnt need to be eliminated. Chicago’s children still need an eduction. Instead CTU should be eliminated because they clearly dont give a rats ass about educating Chicago children. Instead CTU is out for themselves while pickpocketing the parents and stealing from the rest of the taxpayers. Bust CTU. The red clad illiterate hordes are the very worst of Public Sector Union thugs. Restart the program. The 70% worthless current CTU members can go work at Walmart (if walmart will take them. Most CTU members are allergic to work.). The 30% competent can form the core of a… Read more »


CTU members can go back to grooming dogs.

Tom Paine's Ghost

Grooming dogs is a skill, so that’s not an option to most. CPS members have very few skills beyond protesting, complaining and avoiding work.

Chepo sanchez

Ed Hershey you are a special type of idiot. You need to wake up and listen to the citizens who can from these 3world countries.


How hopelessly far-left do you have to be to travel to another country to support a Socialist dictator?


If you haven’t checked out their blog yet, you may be interested to know that comments are closed for all entries. Quite the contrast with this site, which encourages open discussion from both sides.


Reading the news is always more fun when you have “letters to the editor’. I used to read a different Illinois related site of like mind to this one, but that site has no ccomments, when I found wirepoimts I switched to here. I can’t remember the last time I even went to that other site.


Maybe head ctu fake socialist–sharkey, could lean on his uber wealthy father-in-law, chairman of royal caribian cruise line, to charter a big old cruise boat, load-up all 30,000 ungrateful ctu socalistas on a one way trip down to Venezuela. Sure the maduro would give um great gigs teaching in worthless venezuelan $.


I always assumed this guy was childless and single partying his way through life. Apparently he married into the upper class. Good for him. I always like when people from rich and wealthy families tell me what to do with my money.


Kind of like Pritzker the toilet man calling out the wealthy families who gave up guardianship of their kids to get financial aid and breathlessly calling it fraud…is that the pot calling the kettle black or what ?


Ah, the irony. “I’m a socialist, but I’ll be more than happy to benefit from all this money derived from capitalism.” This is your leader, CTU.


Well when they come back they could put their ideological mouths where their money is and go on strike. Striking is very Marxonian, that is if you have an “oppressor class government” to strike against. But there is no oppressor government in Chicago, they are Marxists too! Watching Striking teachers in Chicago is just no fun anymore, because I already know lightfoot will fold. And she will fold in a way that leaves secret the whole deal, because the deal is always the same… The union and Chicago will screw over the taxpayers happily, but sugar coat it all “for… Read more »

Joe Blow

imagine being this stupid and teaching our children…

Craig Davis

This is disgusting….these people teach our children. My God…

These CTU teachers would probably love teaching in Venezuela for a year! It might be so fun!


This is a joke. Maybe these teachers should stay teaching in Venezuela for, say, a school year and see if they can survive. Shame on them. They should be supporting the starving teachers instead.

David Longfellow

These “teachers” are making a strong argument for homeschooling.

Rosario Canizales

It’s a slap in the face to CTU members, originally from Venezuela or who had family there, that know what the real situation is. I’m a CTU member originally from Venexuela. Honestly, I can’t believe educators like you could fall for that. For the first time, after 18 years as a CTU member, I feel ashamed and betrayed. To the CTU delegation that visit Venezuela, you need to educate yourselves before supporting a dictator. You look ignorant and made the rest of the membership look ignorant as well. What a disgrace!


Published less than one month ago: “Venezuela’s Teachers And Students Skip School For Survival”:

Students skipping school to scrounge for food and medicine. Substitutes with no teaching certificates. Schools taken over by pro-government militias for training. Teachers resigning because they couldn’t survive on their $5 monthly salaries.

Just a mind-numbingly dense hot-take by CTU members on the “real” Venezuela. Only conceited drones w/ zero sense of self-awareness would ignore such a state of affairs.

MONTY Frick-hisaw

Thanks, you just made teachers look ignorant…look at their country and their suffering…Then look at ours!
Monty F-Hisaw
English Teacher

David C. Seidman

What we read from the CTU brethren (and their Bolivarian “guides” seems to be a product of a severe case of Cranial Rectitus


And tonite we’re all going to dine at this dumpster…..

Andrew Szakmary

I wonder if these folks even bothered to step outside of Caracas or other potemkin villages the government there has set up…. Not representative of the rest of the country:


I would imagine they were kept on a very narrow path, so as to only see what the regime wanted them to. And they just took it all at face value like the useful idiots they are.

Tom Paine's Ghost

Did the Maduro regime show the gullible CTU members the very best dumpsters in Caracas to use for picking up dinner? Link is; I hope that sensible CTU members are outraged that their union dues are paying for this sort of disgusting activity. During this year’s inevitable CTU strike I hope that the CTU members remember this while they themselves are scrimping and stretching their savings for rent and meals and, if the strike is long enough, begin pondering the location of Chicago’s very best dumpsters to visit for meals. Then, they will know true solidarity with the proud… Read more »

s and p 500

I’ll bet one thing they don’t do in Venezuela is keep schools open that are one-tenth full.

steve tanton

Posted your article about the Chicago teachers going to Venezuela on my FB page with these comments: New website out of Chicago – Excellent Start! I’m sure we’ll come to enjoy many, many more good articles revealing, exposing truth! With regards to the article: Why should I be surprised? Over 90% of teachers vote Marxist/Democrat. “Liberalism is an emotional disease.” (Ann Coulter) It is easy to be paid and demand payment from the coffers of other’s work and to always demand more. No, this is not surprising, but we can turn the tide with truth – let us hope they… Read more »

Bob out of here

My first thought when I saw the headline was “it must be from The Onion.”

Wise Willy World

The social mental virus of socialism has spread its poison to academia which in turn has created zombie thinking teachers with too many monetary benefits and too little real life pragmatism.

Blair Garber

I have a friend who left his corporate career 20 years ago, in order to teach High School math and physics. He went to DePaul to get his teaching certification (already had degrees in Math and Physics) and took his only class in the Philosophy of Education. That class was taught by a Marxist, using only one textbook “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire, a leading advocate of critical pedagogy.

Once you understand critical pedagogy has been mainstreamed in our Colleges of Education for over 20 years, the abject failure of Chicago Public Schools to educate makes perfect sense.

Truth In Lake County

DePaul has become “woke”, and lost it’s way. I feel sorry for the parents of the students who send their kids there. As Blair’s post shows, a disfuncitonal education and very expensive.

Rudy taylor

Theese teachers just want a minute of fame why they dont moove to venezuela to live if they so like the situation that the vevezuelan living they will be back in two weeks

David Seidman

Unbelievable….but believable. America may not be ready for Marxist socialism….but CTU certainly is. And funded by our fellow taxpayer in Illinois, Maduro and friends make even Bernie Sanders look moderate! Your suggestion to re-constitute the School system is a neat, clean way to cure the problem. Anybody listening in Springfield? Anybody care??

Tom OConnor

CTU has the budget to send people to Venezuela?

J. Lynn

No. They paid their own way. But they nearly bankrupted themselves with their new building costs.


CTU funded their new HQ with the proceeds from the 2014 sale of a Gold Coast apartment building they owned for decades. CTU then took the remaining proceeds (approx $40 million) to form the “CTU Foundation”, which, if I’m not mistaken, technically owns the new HQ and CTU pays rent to the Foundation.

S & P 500

CTU set up a separate entity to manage a building ?? Good grief, in Philly there’s opposition to charter operators who set up separate entities to retain ownership of the building where the charter school resides.


CTU set up a separate entity so they could pay neighborhood groups to protest alongside them…and build a new HQ. You can lease space there too if you want:


They should go.let them go.go…come off your cocoon and write back home your thoughts…you and your brillant ideas

Julian Pelaez

but I do not know why these people do not stay living there, here they should revoke the entry visa to the United States and follow up to see what they think in a month, six months and a year hahahaha to see their reactions, it would be a incredible experience …


Is it common practice for union members to go on exotic business trips during contract negotiations?


I hope this gets picked up by Breitbart or Drudge.


Same. This is one of those stories that begs for widespread dissemination.


And it did; it took a few weeks, but its all over the media now.

If you send your kid to public school, you are taking a risk on brainwashing. No matter if it is the city or the suburbs. Homeschooling is going to take off.


Unbalivable, maybe we could pay the ctu pensions & salaries in Venezuelan currency . Or ship them all down there on a one way ticket